Tabasco spices up salads with TikTok-influenced, LTO hot sauce dressing

By Ryan Daily

- Last updated on GMT

Image Credit: McIlhenny Company
Image Credit: McIlhenny Company

Related tags Tabasco sauce dressings

With a new product collaboration with TikTok influencer Tinx, Tabasco is looking to “normalize hot sauce as dressing,” as Lee Susen, chief sales and marketing officer at McIlhenny Company (Tabasco’s parent company), told FoodNavigator-USA.

The limited-edition Tabasco Brand x Tinx Avocado Jalapeno Hot Sauce Dressing is a blend of 50% Tabasco Green Jalapeno Sauce and "Tinx-approved ingredients​" like apple cider vinegar, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil. To promote the release, the first 10,000 Amazon orders will receive a promo code for a free entree at Chipotle, redeemable in the Chipotle app or online through the end of February, allowing consumers to try the hot sauce dressing on a bowl or burrito.

Tabasco leverages social with release

To ensure that the product was available nationally, “Amazon — and e-commerce in general — made the most sense because it's a conversation that we knew was [going to] take place in social, [and] that we could link the two together,​” Susen said. And by focusing on digital channels and social media, the brand could connect with its consumers and learn how they liked the product, he added.

And the idea to use Tabasco hot sauce as dressing came from Tinx creator Christina Najjar who has 1.5 million followers and used Tabasco's Green Jalapeno sauce on salads, Susen admitted. During the product development process, Tabasco looked at how Tinx used its sauce in the kitchen and her "hacks​" for product inspiration, he said. Following several prototypes and feedback from Tinx, Tabasco was ready for launch. 

Consumers find new uses for hot sauces

The launch of Tabasco’s LTO dressing comes at a time when consumers are looking for spicier foods and flavors in a range of product categories. Last month, food ingredient company Kerry shared that sriracha-flavored products​ increase 45% from 2007 to 2012 after nearly 15 years of widespread use in the US.

"It is truly a great time to be in the hot sauce business,​” Susen said. Not only are consumers seeking out spicier flavors, but they are also finding new ways to use hot sauces, like how Tinx used hot sauce in her salad, he noted.

It's still a relatively underdeveloped category. As an example, in the United States, there's an opportunity to increase both household penetration of the entire category and then the frequency of use.​”

From popcorn to salads: What’s next for Tabasco?

While the partnership with Tinx is Tabasco’s latest, it’s not the only co-branded product the brand has worked on. Last year, Pipsnacks released​ a spicy cheddar cheese ball and spicy cheddar Pipcorn popcorn with Tabasco sauce. In the future, Tabasco will look to work with both “influential partners as well with influential brands,​” Susen said.

"We continue to make sure that we have this opportunity to bring people into the category and then to help them to better understand how to interact with the category... [We are] always on the lookout for partners who we want to participate with, and they want to participate with us.​"

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